The 10th edition of IPL hasn’t brought a lot of happiness for RCB so far. Two weeks into the tournament and the Bangalore-based franchise find themselves at the bottom of the table. If the losses in themselves are painful to deal with, their inconsistency with both and ball hasn’s been very promising.
Quite honestly, RCB have struggled in all the departments; the batting hasn’t clicked as a unit, and that in turn has put a lot of pressure on their bowling. And they haven’t shown the same intensity in the field either.
It all started with injuries to their star players. It’s true that voids left by Kohli and de Villiers are hard to fill, but the rest of the players have failed miserably and as a result, they are in a precarious situation.
Momentum is a key thing in cricket, more so in long tournaments such as the IPL. Sadly though, RCB seem to have none of it. With a solitary win – a hard fought one at that – in 5 games so far, the Kohli-led team would look to sort out their issues soon and get some wins under their belt before things get out of control.
Let us look at 5 main reasons why RCB have struggled so far in this year’s IPL:
#1 What’s the right combination?
The fact that RCB have played different XIs in all five matches so far tells the story in itself. There’s been a lot of chopping and changing with no real change in the result.
The absence of Kohli and de Villiers meant they had to try different batsmen and combinations at the top, but no one really grabbed the opportunity.
And the bowling department too has been struggled. – Aniket Chaudhary, Iqbal Abdulla and Aussie pacer Billy Stanlake have looked good in patches but have failed to provide breakthroughs when required.
So there’s plenty to address before their crucial clash against another batting-heavy side, Gujarat Lions, and they will have to bring their A-game to the table.
RCB will have to find their best combination soon and back their players to come good, for you can’t tinker with your combinations too much when you need seven wins in nine games.
#2 Opening woes
For long, RCB’s biggest strength has been their batting. They have, arguably, the best batting line up in the IPL. The Jamaican star batsman, Chris Gayle, has been exceptional at the top for RCB. But his form has taken a sharp dip in the past year or so, and that has hurt RCB very badly.
Gayle has featured in three games so far and has scored a mere 60 runs at a strike rate of 107. You don’t normally associate those numbers with Gayle.
RCB depend heavily on their top 3, therefore, Gayle will have to bring out the best in him as they can’s relax now as their chances of entering playoffs seem very bleak.
The form of Mandeep Singh and Shane Watson has also been a cause for concern. Both the batsmen have been tried at different positions but have failed to contribute.
But, with Kohli back in the mix, RCB need someone to join the skipper in laying a solid platform so that the likes of de Villiers and Kedhar Jadhav can play with freedom later in the innings.
#3 Lack of contribution from the middle order
As much as RCB rely on their top three, they also need their middle order and their all-rounders to fire.
Kedhar Jadhav, who is in great touch after his dream run against England, needs to convert starts into big ones. He showed glimpses of his hitting abilities in his inspired innings of 70 against Punjab. But RCB need more of that from their wicketkeeper-batsman.
The likes of Stuart Binny and Pavan Negi are very capable batsmen, but, they haven’t made the best of their potential. Going ahead into the second half of the tournament, RCB would need them to come good with both bat and ball more consistently.
#4 Lack of penetration in their bowling
Bowling has always been Royal Challengers Bangalore’s Achilles heel. The addition of Englishman, Tymal Mills, raised hopes of better performances with the bowl, but the problem still persists.
It might be too early to scrutinise their performances, but they definitely have been below par. And the recent struggles with their batting has put more pressure on the already iffy bowling.
Surprisingly, Chahal, who was their leading wicket-taker last year, has also been disappointing. He was RCB’s go-to man and provided breakthroughs almost every time they needed one. But, the wily leggie has picked up only 4 wickets in 5 matches this year.
Chahal and Mills are their best bowlers without a doubt; the duo are going to have to do their best if RCB harbour any hopes of making it to the playoffs.
#5 The Chinnaswamy surface
If you are a batsman out of form, the surface at the Chinnaswamy is where you want to bat. A wicket with minimum assistance to bowling, aided by short boundaries, what more could you bargain for?
However, quite unfortunately for RCB, considering batting is their main strength, it isn’t the same batting friendly wicket. It certainly has slowed down a bit and there is also some uneven bounce which was on display in the last two games RCB played there. First, against Mumbai Indians (MI), and the second, against Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS).
Both visiting teams read the conditions better than the home team and took the pace of the ball for the major part of the RCB innings.
RCB, on the other hand, couldn’t adapt to the surprisingly slow nature of the pitch. Particularly against RPS, the home team made a mess of what should have been a relatively easy chase and succumbed to their third loss in a row.
Though it has been a tough start, RCB would look to put the losses behind them and get back to winning ways. They certainly have the potential, but will they put it to use? Only time will tell.